This is what’s wrong with our nation’s discourse today. Even journalists and “News Personalities” behave like Internet trolls.
Internet trolls are people who enjoy intentionally saying inflammatory, ignorant things in order to get a reaction. They espouse extremist views, knowingly lie or say misleading statements, and do so mainly for the attention and sadistic pleasure they receive from seeing people riled up.
Tomi Lahren is becoming famous and rich from exactly this, just like her predecessors Rush Limbaugh, et al. As you can see from her Facebook Page, she believes her polarizing views and opinions and the ensuing reactions are “exactly what needs to happen in this country.” Really? “Reactions” are what need to happen? Not reasoned, critical thinking? Not educated, informed reactions? Not balanced, healthy perspectives? Just “reactions”? She’s encouraging people to simply “react” with their emotions instead of stopping to think rationally/critically, and that’s dangerous and stupid when you have thousands of followers. But then, those followers already do this and don’t think twice about any of it otherwise they wouldn’t be her followers.
I bring all this up because I see people far too often hop onto the bandwagon of what the general masses are saying or whatever their fringe group is asserting without stopping to think any further. They don’t ask questions, they simply embrace whatever their first emotional response was to something and then when evidence comes forth that contradicts what they believe, they try to defend their feelings and hold even stronger to them. They perform intricate mental gymnastics in an attempt to justify their emotions and beliefs. This is called cognitive dissonance, and only accepting opinions or evidence that support your views is confirmation bias.
It’s crucial to civil discourse and societal evolution that people are open to hearing new information, other people’s perspectives and experiences, and recognize that what they were told growing up might not be the truth.
This all relates to relationships, of course. We can’t grow together and understand each other when people let their biases color everything they interpret. I see this happen a lot, frighteningly, in regards to current events related to sex. There are extremists who want to pathologize normal sexual relations and behaviors, mistaking their own sexual histories or religious beliefs as fact, and extremists who go too far the other way by dismissing or minimizing actual crimes and legitimate concerns.
What I see in public discourse is a serious lack of balanced, educated opinions. And you know why? Those don’t get the same attention. The most popular YouTubers, for example, who talk about current events and politics are the extremists, like anti-feminists.
Anti-feminist: “Feminism is stupid!”
Viewers: “Whaaaat?? This makes me MAD! I’m going to subscribe and argue with all of this person’s fans and share this video because I can’t believe someone is saying this!”
It isn’t the reasonable people who get attention because they don’t elicit the same visceral, kicked in the gut emotional response that gets audiences and viewers.
Reasonable YouTuber: “I believe feminism has done great things for the world but there are a few feminists who take things too far.”
Viewers: “That’s a perfectly rational view supported by evidence. Yaawwwnnnn.”
So no, Tomi Lahren, it’s not simply “reactions” that need to happen. It’s a better-educated society that grows up to use their critical-thinking skills that needs to happen. It’s a society that wants to unite, instead of feeding off of opposition. It’s a society that values peace over war. It’s a society that values people over money. And it’s a culture of diversity not a culture of conformity.